Coastal Conservancy Approves over $17.5 million in Grants for Coastal Restoration, Protection and Access

September 10, 2018 – Last week, the Board of the State Coastal Conservancy approved 17 grants totaling over $17.5 million for restoration, protection and public access projects along the California coast.

Notably, among those was an authorization of $9.75 million to the Wildlands Conservancy for the acquisition of approximately 1,390 acres along the Santa Margarita River, San Diego County, to establish the Santa Margarita River Trail Preserve. The Preserve will be protected from development and the trails will remain open and accessible for the general public as they have been used for decades. The Santa Margarita River offers one of the best opportunities to re-establish a steelhead trout population in coastal Southern California and, by securing conservation of the property, this preserve will provide natural resource protection and wildlife connectivity between the adjacent open space properties.

The Board also approved $825,000 in Explore the Coast grants to 27 nonprofit organizations and public agencies for projects that facilitate and enhance the public’s opportunities to explore the California coast throughout the State.  This is the Conservancy’s fifth round of Explore the Coast grants.  We have now allocated over $5 million to 176 projects that get more Californians out enjoying our coastal resources.  Learn more about our Explore the Coast grants in this video:

 

More information and a full list of projects can be found here: http://scc.ca.gov/2018/08/24/coastal-conservancy-public-meeting-in-eureka-september-06-2018/

California Sea Otter Fund: Grant Applications Due September 7, 2018

Photo by Mike Baird

The State Coastal Conservancy is now accepting applications for its 2019 Sea Otter Recovery Grants. The grants will be funded with monies from the California Sea Otter Fund, which is one of the state’s voluntary tax check-off funds that allows taxpayers to contribute additional money for use towards the recovery of California sea otter populations.

Public agencies and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for the grants (see Proposal Solicitation for details). Eligible projects include research, science, protection projects or programs related to the Federal Sea Otter Recovery Plan or improving the nearshore ocean ecosystem, including, but not limited to, program activities to reduce sea otter mortality.

Each year, the Conservancy solicits proposals for the annual appropriation from the fund. This year the Conservancy has approximately $118,000 available for projects that meet the fund’s objectives. Applications can be submitted at any time, but to ensure consideration for this year’s funding, applications must be received by close of business September 7, 2018.

For more information, please refer to the Proposal Solicitation. Applications can be submitted by email; no hard copies are required.

For more information, please contact Hilary Walecka, Central Coast Project Manager, at hilary.walecka@scc.ca.gov.

Climate Ready Grants available, applications due July 2nd

The Conservancy announces a new Climate Ready grant solicitation; applications are due July 2, 2018. Climate Ready grants fund nature-based solutions for climate adaptation. Projects in this round will be funded by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, and must facilitate greenhouse gas emission reductions. These grants seek to support projects located in and benefiting disadvantaged communities. The solicitation document and application materials are posted here.

Coastal Conservancy Prop 1 Grant Solicitation

The Conservancy announces a new Proposition 1 Grant Solicitation, applications are due June 8, 2018.  Conservancy Proposition 1 grants fund multi-benefit ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration projects. Priority project types include: water sustainability improvements, anadromous fish habitat enhancement, wetland restoration and urban greening. The solicitation document and application materials are posted here.

Coastal Conservancy Approves $7.6 million in Grants for Restoration, Protection and Access

Today, the Board of the State Coastal Conservancy approved 20 grants totaling over $7.6 million for restoration, protection and public access projects along the California coast.

“Yet again our Board has shown that public money is a powerful force to catalyze and implement projects that protect habitats, enhance communities’ resilience and create public access to the coast.” said Sam Schuchat, Executive Officer of the Coastal Conservancy. “The funding approved today flows to projects in nearly every coastal county, and these projects will benefit all Californians as well as visitors.”

Included in the approvals were:

  • Authorization to disburse up to $825,000 to Alameda County Water District to build two fish ladders on lower Alameda Creekthat will enable steelhead trout to migrate to miles of available spawning and rearing habitat in the Alameda Creek Watershed.
  • Authorization to disburse up to $1,087,000 to the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County for the innovative Integrated Watershed Restoration Programto design and permit multiple coastal watershed restoration projects in San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Monterey Counties.
  • Authorization to disburse up to $1,511,462 to The Wildlands Conservancy to implement the Eel River Estuary and Centerville Slough Enhancement Project, which will significantly advance ecosystem restoration and agricultural preservation in the Eel River Delta in Humboldt County.
  • Authorization to disburse up to $381,120 to the Solano Resource Conservation District to enhance wildlife habitat, construct visitor amenities and provide opportunities for students to learn about the local environment at Lake DalwigkDetention Basin in the city of Vallejo, Solano County.
  • Authorization to disburse up to a total $594,435 to the City of Encinitas to fund construction of four acres of beach dunes and a footpath along the dunes, and support a scientific monitoring at Cardiff State Beachin the County of San Diego.

A full list of projects approved today can be found here: http://scc.ca.gov/2018/03/08/coastal-conservancy-public-meeting-in-oakland-march-22/

State Coastal Conservancy Awards over $2.6 million for Coastal Protection and Restoration

The State Coastal Conservancy awarded a series of grants, totaling over $2.6 million, to seven projects that will protect coastal land, improve watershed health, restore habitat and increase public access to the coast.

The full list grants, authorized on January 18 at the Coastal Conservancy’s Board meeting in San Diego, is as follows:

  • Authorization to disburse up to $41,800 to the Pacifica Land Trust to implement community-based habitat restoration and trail enhancement at the Pedro Point Headlands in San Mateo County.
  • Authorization to disburse up to $200,000 to San Diego Canyonlands to prepare plans to address sediment management, streambed stabilization, and native habitat restoration in Maple Canyon, City of San Diego.
  • Authorization to disburse up to $199,385 to the Marin County Resource Conservation District to restore coho salmon habitat in San Geronimo Creek in the community of San Geronimo in Marin County, and adoption of findings under the California Environmental Quality Act.
  • Authorization to disburse up to $150,000 to the County of Marin to prepare a conceptual restoration and reuse plan for the 157-acre San Geronimo Valley Golf Course in Marin County.
  • Authorization to disburse up to $500,000 to the Elkhorn Slough Foundation to augment a Conservancy grant of $1,000,000, authorized on December 3, 2015, for restoration of tidal wetlands and connected uplands in Elkhorn Slough, Monterey County.
  • Authorization to disburse up to $1,180,000 to the Trust for Public Land for implementation of the Central-Jefferson High Green Alley Project in the City of Los Angeles.
  • Authorization to disburse up to $400,000 to the City of Oceanside for planning, design, and environmental documentation related to restoration of the Loma Alta Slough in San Diego County.

 

The full agenda and detailed descriptions of each project can be found here:  http://scc.ca.gov/2018/01/05/coastal-conservancy-public-meeting-in-san-diego-january-18/ 

The Board of the Coastal Conservancy will meet next on March 22 in the Bay Area.

 

Request for Partnership Proposals/Letters of Interest for the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program

The California State Coastal Conservancy (Conservancy) seeks partners for joint applications for coastal wetlands acquisition and/or restoration projects on the California coast or in San Francisco Bay to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 round of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) National Coastal Wetlands Conservation (NCWC) Grant Program. Only designated state agencies, including the Conservancy, are eligible to apply for NCWC grants. However, the Conservancy can work in partnership with state and local agencies, tribes, and certain non-profits to develop and submit NCWC proposals. The Conservancy can pass through NCWC grant funds to its partners to implement projects. While federal agencies can’t receive NCWC grant funds, NCWC-funded projects can be implemented on federal lands.

If your project is selected, the Conservancy will work with you to prepare a NCWC grant proposal, which may or may not be awarded funding by the USFWS. The Conservancy will not award state funding grants directly through this solicitation. The USFWS selects proposals for award through a merit-based, national competitive review process. The deadline to submit NCWC proposals to the USFWS for FY 2019 has not been set, but is expected to be in mid- to late June 2018. If projects are awarded a NCWC grant, funding will be available for implementation as early as Spring 2019. USFWS will need to meet its project-related environmental compliance requirements before making funding available. A full description of the NCWC program can be found here: https://www.fws.gov/coastal/CoastalGrants/

NCWC provides grants of up to $1,000,000 for the protection and/or restoration of coastal wetlands. Grants are for project implementation, although it is permissible to utilize a small amount (~15%) of the grant for biological surveys or monitoring, planning and permitting if those activities are closely tied to implementation. Projects should be ready for implementation in Summer 2019 or 2020. Projects will be more competitive if the project area is primarily made up of jurisdictional wetlands. The NCWC grant program requires a non-federal match of at least 25% of the total project cost, consisting of either cash or in-kind contributions, and additional points are awarded for match of up to 33% of the total project cost. The Conservancy may be able to provide some or all of the required match, but project partners with their own match will increase the Conservancy’s capacity to carry out more projects. The NCWC program also prioritizes projects that involve multiple partners providing a cash or in-kind contribution. All projects must ensure long-term (at least 20 years) conservation of coastal resources.

Eligible Activities include:

1. Acquisition of a real property interest (e.g., conservation easement or fee title) in coastal lands or waters (coastal wetlands ecosystems) from willing sellers or partners for long-term conservation;

2. Restoration, enhancement, or management of coastal wetlands ecosystems; or

3. A combination of acquisition, restoration, and management.

Ineligible Activities include, but are not limited to:

1. Projects that primarily benefit navigation, irrigation, flood control, or mariculture;

2. Acquisition, restoration, enhancement or management of lands required as the result of a regulatory or decision-making process to mitigate habitat losses;

3. Creation of wetlands where wetlands did not previously exist;

4. Enforcement of fish and wildlife laws and regulations, except when necessary for the accomplishment of approved project purposes;

5. Research;

6. Planning as a primary project focus;

7. Operations and maintenance, including long-term invasive species management;

8. Acquisition and/or restoration of upper portions of watersheds where benefits to the coastal wetlands ecosystem are not significant and direct; and

9. Projects providing less than 20 years of conservation benefits.

More information about NCWC grants, including the FY 2018 Notice of Funding Opportunity, is available here: https://www.fws.gov/coastal/CoastalGrants/ Note that the FY 2019 Notice of Funding Opportunity for the NCWC program has not yet been released.

Letter of Interest Submittal: To indicate your interest in partnering with the Conservancy on a NCWC proposal, please submit a brief (~2-4 page) letter of interest via email to joel.gerwein@scc.ca.gov. The letter should include the following information: 1) 1-2 sentence summary of proposed project, 2) description of the need for the project, 3) description of the proposed project and how it addresses the need, 4) estimated project cost and description of potential match, 5) approximate timeline for project implementation (include information of the status of project design and environmental review for restoration projects), 6) indicate whether you have a willing seller for acquisition projects, and 7) list of potential project partners and their roles in the project. Include a map showing the project area and providing the approximate acreage of the project area and acreage of coastal wetlands within the project area. Letters of Interest must be received by 5 PM PST on February 14th, 2018.

Eligible Applicants: Non-federal public agencies, tribes, and certain nonprofit organizations are eligible for funding. To be eligible, a nonprofit organization must qualify under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and its articles of incorporation must demonstrate that the organization’s purposes are consistent with Division 21 of the Public Resources Code, the Coastal Conservancy’s enabling legislation.

Questions: Questions about the application process and potential projects may be directed to Joel Gerwein, External Grants Manager, 510-286-4170, Joel.Gerwein@scc.ca.gov

Coastal Conservancy Awards $4.6 Million in Grants for Coastal Protection and Sea Otter Recovery

Photo: Rich Miller

The California State Coastal Conservancy awarded over $4.6 million in grants to protect, restore and enhance coastal resources at its November 30 Board meeting.  Included in these grants was nearly $100,000 in Sea Otter Recovery grants to 3 programs to protect and restore sea otter populations off the California coast.

The Sea Otter Recovery grant program, funded by voluntary income-tax check-offs, has been running since 2006 and has been able to award a total of $1,154,897 (which was matched by an additional $1,554,333) to help scientists better understand and trace the causes of sea otter mortality, identify factors limiting population growth, reduce water pollutants that are toxic to otters, develop wetland management and restoration guidance to aid in otter recovery, and educate the public how they can prevent disturbance of wild otters.

The programs funded at the November meeting include:

  • Friends of the Sea Otter: sixty-two thousand two hundred dollars ($62,200) to reduce sea otter disturbance through a public education campaign on responsible viewing of wild sea otters.
  • California Department of Parks and Recreation: twelve thousand six hundred dollars ($12,600) to install two speed humps on the entrance road to Moss Landing State Beach where sea otters are known to cross the road to reduce the risk of vehicle strike.
  • San Francisco State University: fourteen thousand seven hundred and seventy dollars ($14,770) to conduct an analysis of potential sea otter habitat and threats in San Francisco Bay to inform the potential recolonization of sea otters in San Francisco Bay.

Southern sea otters were hunted to near extinction in the early part of the 20th century, and listed as a federally threatened species in 1977. Currently the population numbers around 3,186 animals inhabiting the near-shore marine environments adjacent to San Mateo County south to Santa Barbara County. This is far less than the historic levels estimated at approximately 16,000-20,000 animals, with a range along the entire California coast and south into Baja California.

To learn more about each project and see the full list of grants awarded by the Coastal Conservancy in November, visit http://scc.ca.gov/2017/11/17/coastal-conservancy-public-meeting-in-santa-barbara-november-30/

To learn more about the Sea Otter Recovery voluntary income-tax check-offs, visit: http://scc.ca.gov/2014/01/30/help-save-california-sea-otters-at-tax-time/ 

Coastal Conservancy Urban Greening projects benefit from CNRA Grants

The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA), parent agency of the State Coastal Conservancy, recently announced $76 million in funding for 39 green infrastructure projects through the state’s Urban Greening Program. Urban Greening projects use install nature based infrastructure in urban communities to reduce greenhouse gases by sequestering carbon, decreasing energy consumption and reducing vehicle miles traveled. The projects also convert built environments into green spaces that improve air and water quality and provide opportunities for walking, biking and recreation.

In 2016, the State Coastal Conservancy pioneered an Urban Greening grant round for Los Angeles county, allocating $11.5 million to 12 projects that:

  • Create new parks and improve existing parks and green spaces
  • Improve groundwater recharge, reduce storm water runoff and improve water quality
  • Help cool down neighborhoods with native plantings
  • Create urban greenways with bike and pedestrian paths
  • Improve recreation centers in park-poor neighborhoods
  • Support the restoration of the LA River

“Through these grants, the CNRA is allocating over $23.5 million to projects in LA County that will make an extraordinary difference in some of California’s most underserved and park-poor communities.” Said Joan Cardellino, South Coast Program Manager at the State Coastal Conservancy. “We have been designing and funding Urban Greening projects in Los Angeles since 2008, and initiated our LA Urban Greening grant round last year to catalyze exactly these sorts of projects, and we couldn’t be happier about this major influx of funding coming from the CNRA.

 

“Urban Greening is a relatively new concept for city planners and land managers, but I have no doubt that the projects we and the CNRA are supporting will quickly prove the value of these programs in terms of ecological indicators and direct benefits to communities.”

 

The Coastal Conservancy recently held a grant round for Urban Greening projects in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

To learn more about the State Coastal Conservancy’s LA Urban Greening program, visit: www.sccurbangreening.org

To learn more about the CNRA’s Urban Greening grants, visit: http://resources.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Urban-Greening-News-Release-Announcing-Awards-Final.pdf

 

Explore the Coast Video

The Coastal Conservancy’s Explore the Coast grants fund programs that help all Californians explore and experience our coast. Please watch this video and visit the Explore the Coast grants page to learn more:

Below are a few thank you notes from 5th graders who participated in the Ocean Connectors program in San Diego, funded by Explore the Coast grants.  Through programs like these, that expand their understanding of coastal ecosystems, these students will grow up to be stewards of the coast and ocean.